After a 12 hour bus ride from Thessaloniki, we finally arrived in Istanbul. It was now about 10 p.m. and the darkness of the night almost hid the chaos of this insanely busy city. However, whatever went unnoticed at night definitely came to light in the morning. But before I get to that, the first night we made it to our hostel, showered and then hit the streets with a new friend we met on the bus, to see what the city had to offer. After a few rounds of drinks, a couple games of backgammon (extremely popular there), smoking some nargile (exactly like hookah) and dancing to some awkwardly mixed music at a rooftop bar, we strolled back home. Only to head to the rooftop of the hostel to watch the sunrise and welcome a new day in Instanbul.
I have never in my life been to a place so busy and moving so quickly and slowly all at the same time. The road leading from a main hub Taksim Square is forever filled with hoards of people and an unquantifiable amount of energy. I was both nervous and in awe. We walked from Taksim Square to the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia with a stop at the Spice market and New Mosque. Even though we were advised against walking I thought it would be an interesting walk and a good way to see the city even if it took a while. Okay so maybe a bad idea, not only was it blistering hot, but by the time we reached we actually made it to the Blue Mosque it was closed. Bummer! Needless to say we took the tram back this time and decided to return the next day, but would make use of the transportation the city had to offer.
Oh funny story, while walking around people would stop us every now and then to take pictures with them. I guess they were just as curious about us as we were about Turkey. So the next day we made it back to the old town and also went to the underground cistern, where we decided to do the photo opp they have where you can dress up like a sultan or sultana (touristy I know but hey!), where we were totally ripped off. So they say 5 euro for pictures and even though it was two of us we could still pay the same 5. When we finished our “photo shoot” however they had bunches of photos displayed on the screen only to then say it was 5 euros each picture but they would graciously let us have a cd with all of them for 20 euro. We’d been had lol! Of course being as vain as us girls can be at times, we took the cd.
Overall I spent 4 days and 3 nights in Istanbul a very interesting city which I am told gets even busier in the autumn with about 20 million people packed into that place. My cousin returned home to Miami at the end of our time there and I took yet another 12 hour bus to Cappadocia, Turkey where I am now!